The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Telegraph

Goebbels and Mugabe have a lot in common
By Mihir Bose
(Filed: 22/04/2004)

There are lies, dammed lies and lies by the Robert Mugabe controlled press.
Joseph Goebbels used to say if you repeat a lie often enough people will
believe it. But Goebbels, a clever if evil man, invented believable lies.
Mugabe's press henchmen seem so incompetent that they invent ridiculous

Take this example from yesterday's Herald following my deportation from
Zimbabwe. Under the headline 'Unaccredited British scribe deported' it said:
"Highly placed sources said Bose, whose newspaper The Telegraph is highly
critical of the Government and is linked to the British Government, had
secretly entered the country as he intended to work 'undercover' to record
unfolding events within Zimbabwean cricket . . . the sources said the
British journalist was already exerting undue pressure on some sponsors of
the national cricket team to withdraw their funding in the wake of 'radical
changes' in the composition of the Zimbabwean team."

Oh, come on Herald, can't you invent something more believable? The idea
that The Daily Telegraph is linked to the British Government will come as
news to Tony Blair. What next, that Blair is secretly trying to buy the

As for me entering the country secretly, let me reproduce the document which
bears the signature of the chief immigration officer of the Department of
Immigration Control, PO Box 189 Bulawayo. I was asked to counter-sign it to
show I had received the document and this makes it abundantly clear I was
admitted into Zimbabwe. However, that visa was cancelled and I had to leave
by Tuesday.

I have a simple request for the Herald. As this is a Zimbabwean government
document, why do they not reproduce it in their paper?

I must say I was much amused by their other lie claiming I was exerting
"undue pressure" on sponsors of Zimbabwean cricket to withdraw their
sponsorship. The implication here is that it would be all right to exert
proper pressure, whatever that is, but not undue pressure. For the record, I
do not know who the sponsors of Zimbabwean cricket are, made no attempt to
contact them in the 24 hours I was allowed in Zimbabwe, and I saw no reason
to do so in the context of the story I was trying to cover.
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Nord Süd Forum München e.V.
North South Forum Munich, Germany

Arbeitskreis Städtepartnerschaft München - Harare
Harare - Munich Partnership (HaMuPa)

The North South Forum, Munich, and the Harare - Munich Partnership join
other democracy-loving people in condemning outright the dismissal of
Executive Mayor Mudzuri of Harare. Eng. Mudzuri was elected by a great
majority of the citizens of Harare, but since then his efforts to improve
the administration and services in Harare have been obstructed in all
possible ways by the Ministry of Local Government. We also deeply regret
this further setback to the city twinning of Harare and Munich and hope that
even now, better council may prevail and Mayor Mudzuri be reinstated and
permitted to carry out his plans for the city.

Munich, 22/04/2004

North South Forum Munich
Schwanthalerstr. 80
80336 Munich / Germany
phone 0049/89/856375-23
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 21 April

Mugabe's secret police tighten grip on rivals

Harare - Every aspect of life in Zimbabwe is now monitored, as the state
tightens its grip on society through its ballooning security services. The
budget for the feared Central Intelligence Organisation, the CIO, trebled
this year. Its slush fund, the Unallocated Reserve, has swollen to £170
million in 2004 - more than three times what Zimbabwe spends on health. The
presence of the authorities is ever more visible. At Harare International
Airport, unidentified photographers have been taking pictures of every
visitor arriving in the immigration hall, according to a regular traveller
to Zimbabwe. But the real pressure is being felt by the domestic opposition.
Evelyn Masaiti, a Movement for Democratic Change member of parliament,
together with Oscar Pemiwa, a city councillor, and 13 young football
supporters were arrested at the weekend at a game to celebrate the 24th
anniversary of independence in impoverished Mabvuku township east of Harare.
They were due in court yesterday accused of looting a shop, charges eye
witnesses at the game dismissed as "rubbish", and "trumped up". They said
riot police arrived because large crowds had turned up to watch the match in
an opposition stronghold. The mood among opposition supporters is now grim.
Most MDC MPs, election candidates and councillors in rural and municipal
elections have been arrested at some time since the party was formed in
September 1999. Harare's mayor, Elias Mudzuri, who won with an 80 per cent
majority on an opposition ticket two years ago and was sacked from his post
by President Robert Mugabe last week, says he is "just waiting to be

But fear is spreading well beyond the politically active. A well-known
professional white man, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, was
having a leisurely beer in a city centre pub last weekend when he was
ordered to leave by a group of black drinkers because of his race. When he
failed to leave immediately, he was attacked by a mob and beaten badly. He
said yesterday that he was not only sore, but sad. He has decided not to
report the assault because many people face arrest for reporting crimes at
police stations. State surveillance is also being stepped up. Jim Holland,
the system administrator of internet service provider Mango, said the state
"probably" installed new Chinese equipment three weeks ago to monitor
internet traffic. He said: "The equipment would have been installed at the
Mazowe Earth Station which is controlled by the state's Tel One, and under
current legislation, all internet service providers are forced to route
their traffic through that gateway. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the
exception - it operates its own satellite link via Finland." Econet's
majority shareholder, Strive Masiyiwa, was the major shareholder in
Zimbabwe's only non-government daily newspaper, The Daily News, which was
closed by the government last year. Lawyers say the government is now
preparing a case to strip Econet of its operating licence.

Lower down the scale, the CIO are everywhere, lounging in the lobbies of the
two five star hotels, at cafes, in restaurants and sports clubs. The
dwindling number of academics, lawyers, trade unionists, and particularly
journalists say they know their movements are monitored by intelligence
agents and the state's youth militia. Brian Kagoro, the co-chairman of the
pressure group, the Crisis Coalition, said: "There has been a phenomenal
increase in public spending on home affairs, defence and security. It is
intended to, and has virtually shut down all opinion that would expose what
is going on. It is more sustained and deeper than we previously thought
would be possible. "We live in invisible prison cells, careful what we say
and who we say it to, careful where we go. They are forcing opinion
underground. They are also intensely monitoring some king pins in the ruling
party Zanu PF. It's a crazy environment of xenophobia and political
criminality, as all conduits of expression are silenced."
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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele reporter

22 April 2004

In a press statement issued earlier this month the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) congratulates Robert Mugabe on his 80th birthday and wishes him “all the very best in the future”.  It also applauds his efforts  “to tackle and remove the evil practice of corruption from our midst”.   The EFZ offers its “wholesale support of this initiative” and promises its prayers for the success of the venture. Bishops Sebastian Bakare, Patrick Mutume and Trevor Manhanga of Mutare put out an Easter message in almost identical terms – though omitting the best birthday wishes!


The question is whether these clerics are not a little naïve in their fulsome support for Mugabe’s so-called anti-corruption drive.  One wonders if they will not come to regret their bold and unconditional support – and that sooner rather than later.


Had they given a little more thought (and perhaps prayer?) to the matter before rushing into print, they might have asked themselves how precisely the rampant corruption that is now rife in this country first got a foothold.  Is not the major source of corruption in Zimbabwe the exercise of power without restraint or accountability?  And who but the ruling party – and more precisely the head of that party – is responsible for this state of affairs?  Indeed who but Robert Mugabe and his partners in crime are resisting to the point of death, any attempt to restrict their powers or to make them accountable to the nation?   So then who is the most corrupt of all?


Moreover how can Zimbabweans have any faith in a process initiated by those at the seat of power – a process in which they have a greater stake than anyone else and in which they have appointed themselves prosecutor, judge and jury all in one?


In an excellent article contributed to the Zimbabwe Independent the human rights’ lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa makes the telling point that many of those who have fled the country rather than submitting themselves to this country’s legal system have done so for the very good reason that they cannot expect to get a fair trial here. Not only has the independence of the judiciary been severely compromised but the administration of the system has now been brought under (unconstitutional) political control. Add in the politicisation of the police force and the Attorney-General’s office, and what hope does an innocent person have of retaining his liberty once the ruling elite have decided he should be locked up?   Hence even the innocent take refuge abroad.


Can the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really lend their whole-hearted support to such a compromised – and corrupt – system?


Even worse, the so-called anti-corruption drive has given Mugabe the opportunity to introduce an undeclared state of emergency to the country.  What else do the Presidential Powers regulations achieve than the introduction of a state of emergency by stealth. And the sweeping and unrestricted powers conferred on the police to detain suspects and to deny them bail for extended – and in effect unlimited – periods rival the most draconian measures ever used by the Apartheid regime in South Africa.


These are the powers with which the state arms itself – ostensibly to go after those guilty of some form of corruption.  Can the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really applaud the taking of such sweeping (and unconstitutional) powers by any government – let alone the present regime with its appalling track record on human rights’ abuses?


Should these clerics not first ask themselves whom, in political terms, the so-called anti-corruption drive serves best?  And of course the answer has to be none other than the ruling elite.  They have armed themselves with awesome powers which may be used, first to deal with members of the ZANU PF establishment (like James Makamba) who have somehow fallen out with the Chief, and after that … ?  Well, whomsoever they (the ruling elite) so wish.  And what easier way to silence the opposition once and for all than to deploy this draconian legislation against them – which almost certainly was the original purpose anyway.  Never mind that the regulations are ulra vires the constitution. There is little chance these days of getting a Supreme Court Justice to declare the regulations unconstitutional, and still less of finding a senior police officer to enforce such a ruling.  Hence any troubling member of the opposition, or indeed anyone perceived to be a threat to ZANU PF interests, can be locked up for as long as the ruling elite wish – and remember, all this on the basis of suspicion only, rather than any hard evidence.


Do the EFZ and the Mutare Bishops really want to be associated with such an evil political scheme or with the witch hunt which is already under way ?  Will they indeed pray for its success?


It goes without saying that every good and law-abiding citizen would like to see the corruption which has become endemic in our nation, rooted out once and for all.  But before we endorse any proposed course of action to this end we had better consider very carefully both who has lead the campaign and the means to be used - or we may find ourselves supporting a so-called anti-corruption drive led by the mafia and controlled by none other than the godfather himself.


EFZ and the Mutare bishops – for God’s sake, think again !

Visit our website :



enough is enough


they are finished

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The Australian

Aussie backs Mugabe land policy
From correspondents in Harare, Zimbabwe
April 23, 2004
AN Australian aboriginal activist today backed the land reforms of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe, comparing his policies to the intent of indigenous
people worldwide.

Michael Anderson was speaking from a conference of southern African former
liberation movements and their sympathisers, which today gave their backing
to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's controversial stand on land reforms.

"Mugabe's not doing any more than what a lot of indigenous people are asking
for around the world," Anderson, a founder of the Sovereign Union of
Aboriginal Nations and People of Australia, said.

"They want self-determination, they want return of the lands, control of
their natural resources," he said.

The three-day conference in Harare entitled The Struggle Continues has drawn
representatives from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South
Africa and Tanzania.

Black empowerment groups such as the US-based December 12 Movement and the
Britain-based Black United Front and diplomats also attended the meeting,
hosted by Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front

"We are one community when it comes to the question of national liberation
and sovereignty," Coltrane Chimurenga of the December 12 Movement said.

He said the meeting was also significant because it aimed to tackle the
issue on how "the struggle for land that is right now pivotal in Zimbabwe is
going to expand to other African countries".

Unresolved, colonial-era land imbalances are a hot issue in at least two
other countries in the region: Namibia and South Africa.

While Mugabe's government says its four-year old land program has been a
success, Western countries, the opposition and aid agencies say it has
severely disrupted Zimbabwe's once-prosperous farm sector and contributed to

They also point to the fact that it was accompanied by the sometimes violent
occupation of white-owned farms and the eviction of thousands of black

But for many of his supporters, Mugabe is merely paying the price for daring
to repossess land from whites.

"The imperialist media is full of calumny against you for the alleged
injustice you are doing to the white minority in your country," read a
message from the British-based Zimbabwe Solidarity Front circulated at the
conference today.

"They 'forget' that the rights of 13 million Zimbabwean blacks are far
higher than those of the 70000 whites," it added.

The conference, which is also discussing international relations, democracy
and good governance, has been highly critical of Western dominance and

It comes at a time of increased Western isolation of Mugabe, with the United
States, Britain and the European Union all having slapped sanctions on the
veteran leader and his close associates for alleged human rights and
democratic abuses.

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The Scotsman

England Cricketers Should Boycott Zimbabwe, Says Hain

By Vivienne Morgan, Political Staff, PA News

English cricketers should follow the example of the Australian Stuart
MacGill and refuse to go on the autumn tour of Zimbabwe, Cabinet minister
Peter Hain said today.

He said he expected many English cricketers not to go and if they did he
would be "with them all the way".

The Commons leader Peter Hain said the refusal of deposed captain Heath
Streak and several other high-profile Zimbabwe cricketers to play for their
country had brought a new perspective to the saga.

Mr Hain, who came to prominence as an anti-apartheid activist whose campaign
stopped the 1970 South African cricket tour to England, said the Government
had made its opposition to the Zimbabwe tour clear.

But the decision ultimately rested with the cricket authorities, he added
during exchanges on future Commons business.
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Made Warns Against Grabbing Equipment

The Herald (Harare)

April 22, 2004
Posted to the web April 22, 2004


The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Joseph Made, yesterday
warned people, including civil servants, against grabbing farming equipment
the Government bought to capacitate agricultural institutions.

There have been reports that some politicians and senior civil servants were
taking away equipment bought by the State under the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Acquisi-tion of Farm Equipment or Material Regulations,
to use on their farms.

"Let there be nobody who gives credence to the taking away of equipment
bought by the State. That equipment has to come back for it is meant to
capacitate institutions and not individuals," said the minister.

The application of the Statutory Instrument has given the State powers to
acquire all agricultural equipment at 25 percent of the value.

It can pay cash or offer part payment, with the balance paid over a number
of years.

"The Government cannot pay cash for the equipment for a few individuals to
keep on their farms.

"Certain machinery like big horsepower tractors and combine harvesters
should be available through institutions that provide tillage services, like
the ministry, the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and the
District Development Fund which provide tillage to communal and A1 farmers,"
said Dr Made.

The minister said the Statutory Instrument to acquire farm machinery should
be seen as an empowerment tool so that many people grow crops, earn an
income and buy their own equipment.

"Agricultural institutions have been under-capitalised for a long time now
and through the instrument we should be able to build their capacity to play
a pivotal role in agricultural development.

"There have been some people who have been attacking the institutions for
being inefficient yet these are the same people who are now grabbing
equipment meant for the institutions. No, we cannot have that. We would
rather fight with management for failing to service farmers when we have
capacitated the institutions,"said the minister.

However, there is equipment in warehouses, which people are free to view and
those with cash resources can buy for use on their farms.

"We have no problems with that. There are some warehouses along the highways
and certainly individuals are free to buy the equipment not to take
advantage of equipment bought by the State."
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State in Bid to Ease Water Bills

The Herald (Harare)

April 22, 2004
Posted to the web April 22, 2004


GOVERNMENT is looking at the possibility of taking over the treatment of
Harare City Council's water to help reduce the cost of water to residents,
the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde
Ignatius Chombo, said yesterday.

The Government has also appointed a team led by educationist Professor
Jameson Kurasha to monitor the city's service delivery while according the
Resident Minister for Harare Cde Witness Mangwende ample time to recruit
staff for his office.

Councillor Sekesayi Makwavarara remains in the post of acting mayor for
Harare and is expected to lead council in implementing a number of
directives given by Government.

These measures were announced by Cde Chombo when he addressed a special full
council meeting at Town House.

Cde Chombo said Cde Mangwende's office was actively working out modalities
of how Government could take over the purification of the city's water.

He said council would remain with the function of distributing and billing
residents for water used.

The move, he said, was to ensure residents were not charged exorbitant water

Harare this year budgeted $815 billion to purchase water treatment
chemicals. The charging of high rates was attributed to the costly water

Cde Chombo appointed a three-member committee led by Prof Kurasha, whose
other members are acting Harare provincial administrator Mr Bernard
Chahuruva and businessman Cde Tendai Savanhu to monitor the city's service
delivery system.

"Officers from my ministry will also be expected to work closely with the
team in ensuring that council concentrates on fulfiling its core mandate,"
he said.

Cde Chombo said Prof Kurasha's team would work on behalf of Government to
ensure the reversal of the city's fast declining service delivery system.

He said the team's tenure of office would be determined by the speed with
which Cde Mangwende recruited staff for his office and until such a time the
office became fully functional to take over the monitoring duties.

He said the Kurasha report would now be made public to assist the team in
its duties.

Prof Kurasha headed a nine-member team that was appointed by Government to
investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement by dismissed mayor
Engineer Elias Mudzuri.

The findings of his report, together with those of the Johannes Tomana
committee, provided the basis to fire Eng Mudzuri.

Cde Chombo directed that under the leadership of Cllr Makwavarara council
should set aside all political bickering and concentrate on service

He said Cllr Makwavarara should ensure that council produces a turnaround
strategy for the city, finalise the computerisation of the city's accounts
and produce audited accounts.

"It is common knowledge that Harare City Council has lagged behind by
several years with respect to the production of audited accounts. It is,
therefore, difficult, if not close to impossible, for one to know their
exact financial standing," he said.

Harare last audited its books in 2000 and is now finalising the 2001 books.

Cde Chombo said audited accounts for 2001 and 2002 should be produced by
December this year, while those for 2003 should be out by June 2005.

He said council should update the valuation roll and ensure that it gets all
the revenue it is losing due to the non-rating of some properties in the

He also gave a deadline of May 31 2004 for council to have a water and
leakages detection team.

Harare loses at least 50 percent of its treated water through leakages with
the treatment costs of the lost water being charged to the residents.

He said council should also rationalise its workforce and weed out ghost

Cde Chombo refuted allegations that his ministry interfered in the
operations of Harare City Council saying the state of the city was an
ultimate concern to Government.

He said his ministry only intervenes to avert catastrophes.

"Indeed suggestions of interference would suggest equality of status between
Government and the local authority. And yet this is not true. While
acknowledging that they are democratically elected institutions, it is
important that it be understood that local authorities are not federal
states and neither are they created to operate autonomously," he said.

He said local authorities derive their existence, legal and operative
mandate from legislative pieces, policies and parameters set out by

Cde Chombo lifted a directive suspending the election of new sub-committees
pending conclusion of investigations on Eng Mudzuri.

He said new committees could now be elected but stressed that only able
councillors should be voted into the committees.

Cde Chombo directed that councillors should not visit Town House to loiter,
bath, and interfere with management and to use council telephones.

He suggested that the councillors should use telephones at the MDC
headquarters at Harvest House.

Councillors were, however, not happy for not being accorded time to express
their views after the minister's address.

They said denying them an opportunity to respond was trampling on their
democratic rights to be heard but Cde Chombo said he would arrange another
meeting to hear their views after the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
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Cimas Workers Go On Strike

The Herald (Harare)

April 22, 2004
Posted to the web April 22, 2004

Tsungirirai Shoriwa

WORKERS at one of the country's leading medical aid societies, Cimas, went
on strike yesterday demanding a 155 percent salary increase.

The workers told The Herald that they were asking for 155 percent because
that was what workers at other medical aid societies had been given.

According to the workers, management is prepared to give them a 55 percent
salary increase.

"The lowest paid worker at other medical aid societies is getting around
$900 000 and here the same person gets $300 000", said the acting
chairperson of the workers committee Mr Collin Barangiro.

"Our colleagues in the industry also get housing and transport allowances
but here we get nothing of that sort", he said.

The workers were milling around the Cimas head office while management met
to decide the way forward.

They claimed that they held a meeting with management last month where it
was resolved either party conduct a survey on salaries.

The workers committee carried out its survey and presented its findings to

But, according to the workers, management was allegedly refusing to give
them their findings, which were produced by a human resources consultancy

Cimas chief human resources officer Mr Peter Ngondo deplored the worker's
conduct saying it was uncalled for.

"We are not happy with the way the workers have conducted themselves. They
should have abided by the provisions of the Labour Relations Act", said Mr

He said management had met the workers committee and officials from the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, where it was resolved
that the workers must "return to work".

He added that management agreed to withdraw an application for a show cause
order, which it made with the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare Cde Paul Mangwana.

However, by the end of the day yesterday the workers had not returned to
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Probe Into Schools Complete: Chigwedere

The Herald (Harare)

April 22, 2004
Posted to the web April 22, 2004


THE inquiry into the conduct of 70 heads of Government and private schools
who allegedly increased fees and levies without Government approval at the
beginning of last term is now complete, the Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere, said yesterday.

The ministry is now working on a determination of the inquiry and would come
up with a decision soon.

"Through the determination, we shall decide on the penalties to be given the
school heads. The process should be complete by next week," he said.

Cde Chigwedere would not disclose the kind of penalty they would mete out on
the heads, but said the schools should, with immediate effect, revert to the
fees of December 2003 and start negotiating from there.

Only those schools whose proposals to increase fees had been approved could
go ahead and charge higher fees, he said.

The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture suspended more than 70 school
heads pending disciplinary hearings after they increased levies without
Government approval last term.

Schools now need written approval from the ministry before they can increase
levies by more than 10 percent.

Cde Chigwedere said he intended to resolve problems to do with school levies
before the second term commences in a few weeks.

He urged parents who continued to face the problem of schools increasing
levies without Government approval to report to his ministry, saying the
ministry was at the service of the parents.

"We are fighting for them. Most of the information we have, we get from
them. They should continue working with us," he said.

Cde Chigwedere said private schools which continued to increase levies
without approval risked closure.

He said it had come to his attention that some private schools had sent to
parents invoices for the second term which indicated a further increase in
levies over and above those charged for the first term.

This is despite the fact that private schools that defied the Government by
increasing fees without its approval were handed over to the police for

The police have since quizzed and charged 32 headmasters of private schools
with breaching the Education Act. The heads are still to appear in court.

Under such circumstances, Cde Chigwedere said, he was left with no option
but to direct that provincial education directors to submit to the
ministry's permanent secretary the list of all private schools under their
jurisdiction that had no authority to raise their levies by next week.

"These schools will not be allowed to reopen and this is something we will
stand by. We are quite serious about it," Cde Chigwedere said.

He said the issue was being treated as a matter of urgency.

"All private schools that have not received authorisation to raise fees and
levies, even those for the first term, should revert to the December 2003
fees and levies," he said.

Like Government schools, they should start negotiating from that position,
he said.

The school fees saga has been raging since last term with some parents
saying the ministry was taking too long to act.

They accused the ministry of issuing empty threats while fees and levies
continued to go up.

Some private schools have already communicated to parents that despite the
pressure they are being subjected to by the ministry, they had no option but
to increase levies. Some schools have proposed to increase levies to around
$8 million a term. Other parents have, however, come out in support of the
levy increases, saying they were prepared to pay for their children to enjoy
the best educational standards.
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Fox Sports

Players in tour turmoil
By Michael Crutcher and Jon Pierik
April 23, 2004

SENIOR Australian players have expressed grave reservations about touring
troubled Zimbabwe next month if they have to play a second-rate side.

It emerged last night that while the players may be sympathetic to the
political plight of the strife-torn country and understand why Stuart
MacGill will boycott the tour, their concerns are based more on the savagely
depleted team the African nation will field.

The world champions feel it is ridiculous that they will take on such a weak
side that would struggle to beat a Melbourne grade team.

The African nation is expected to be without 15 white cricketers, including
deposed captain Heath Streak, for the series amid claims a racist selection
policy is in place. Streak was reportedly sacked after asking for the
selection panel to be changed.

The Australians who spoke to The Daily Telegraph yesterday have said they
are not going to revolt and are happy to leave the decision in the hands of
Cricket Australia.

But their displeasure has been obvious with captain Ricky Ponting already
expressing his disappointment at having to play a side that is an
embarrassment to Test cricket.

Star spinner Shane Warne, speaking from England last night where he is
playing for county side Hampshire, hoped the spat between the players and
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union could be resolved before the Australians fly out
in mid-May for a series of two Tests and three one-dayers.

"We want to play the best team Zimbabwe can field," Warne said.

He said he understood why fellow leg-spinner MacGill made his decision and
expressed sympathy for Streak, who is well liked among the Australians.

"We are in the hands of Cricket Australia and we are just waiting to see
what they do," he said. "A lot of the players feel for Heath Streak."

The Australians are under increasing pressure to cancel the tour with former
captain Greg Chappell leading a group of voices urging them to reconsider.

The calls came a day after MacGill refused to tour Zimbabwe on moral grounds
and it emerged yesterday that batsman Darren Lehmann almost joined the

Lehmann heavily contemplated a withdrawal during lengthy meetings with team
management during Australia's recent tour of Sri Lanka.

"I did have a few doubts about whether to tour, but I spoke to one or two
people and came to the conclusion that it would be useful for Australia to
travel," Lehmann said from England.

Cricket Australia was given an indication of public opinion yesterday when a
poll on - Australia's premier cricket website -
resulted in 70 per cent of almost 20,000 voters calling for the tour to be
cancelled. By late yesterday, more than 80 per cent of voters in a separate
poll supported MacGill's decision.

Chappell said Australia's players should not be made to "carry the political
can" and forfeit the tour on moral grounds if governments were not prepared
to apply sanctions at higher levels.

But he said the standoff in Zimbabwe, where 13 players are refusing to play
until the ZCU ends its alleged political agendas, deserved consideration.

"The obvious decision is not to tour, but that's only a personal opinion,"
Chappell said.

"One tour more or less isn't going to make a huge impact on Australian
cricket. But it may in Zimbabwe.

"If I were captain I would be discussing it with my teammates to see how

they feel."

Cricket Australia risks potentially crip pling fines if it cancels the tour
for anything but safety reasons.

The International Cricket Council can impose a fine of almost $3million and
the country can be suspended.

Cricket Australia was last night insisting the tour would go ahead unless
there was a breakdown in safety in Zimbabwe.

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      Butcher waits on Zimbabwe

      Surrey's Mark Butcher has yet to decide whether he will tour Zimbabwe.
      The batsman is waiting to see the England and Wales Cricket Board's
stance before making his own decision.

      England are due to tour Zimbabwe in October but a final decision has
yet to be made by the ECB, although the Government does not want them to go.

      Butcher told BBC London 94.9: "Things aren't good in Zimbabwe and
haven't been for a while which was what caused all the problems in the World

      He added: "As far as I can see nothing's changed. We're still waiting
until the board makes their decision as to whether we go or not.

      "Then it'll be down to individuals such as myself to see if we go."

      Zimbabwe Cricket Union officials held talks with the ECB this week but
a decision will not be made until at least after England's hierarchy has met
with the government next month.

      England coach Duncan Fletcher is content to leave the decision to
officials at Lord's.

      "I think it's very important the ECB deals with the matter and takes
it out of the players' hands and lets them concentrate on the cricket side,"
he said.

      Australia tour Zimbabwe next month and so far spinner Stuart MacGill
has refused to tour, with others possibly following his stance.

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Hindustan Times

            Zimbabwe cricket chiefs make fresh offer to end strike
            Agence France-Presse
            Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), April 22

            An offer to set up a mediation mechanism that might help resolve
the three-week-old stand-off between the Zimbabwe Cricket Union and 15 white
professional players was made on Thursday.
            A source close to the ZCU told AFP that a process has been
provisionally put in place "which will hopefully help negotiations."

            The source would not say what this entails, but it might mean an
independent arbitration along the lines suggested by the players' lawyer
Chris Venturas.

            In return for what appears to be a softening line by the Union,
the players will have to show a willingness by making themselves available
for selection for future matches against Sri Lanka on their current tour and
to turn up for practice.

            However as many of the white players live in distant parts of
the country such as Victoria Falls and the Nyanga mountains the last
condition may be difficult to fulfill.

            The ZCU does not appear to be withdrawing its 21-day deadline
set last week, for the players to return to action or face possible
suspension or dismissal.

            The stand-off came about after Heath Streak was deposed as
captain after complaining about the make-up of the national selection panel.

            The 13 players, later expanded to 15, demanded Streak's
reinstatement, withdrew their services and risked their contracts unless
this happened.

            ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka has insisted that Streak will not be
reinstated and has insisted the matter is closed.

            The replacement Zimbabwe team, captained by 20-year-old Tatenda
Taibu, was soundly beaten by Sri Lanka here Thursday to go 2-0 down in the
five-match series.
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        Limpopo awash with human bodies

            April 22 2004 at 08:33AM

      The bodies of four Zimbabwean men have been retrieved from the Limpopo
River by divers, police said on Thursday.

      This brings the total to five men, aged between 25 and 30, who drowned
on Tuesday while trying to cross the river from the Zimbabwean side close to
the Beit Bridge border post, said Captain Ailwei Mushavhanamadi.

      One body was retrieved early on Tuesday. Polokwane police divers and
helicopters then searched the area on Wednesday for four other men feared

      They found the bodies surrounded by crocodiles and had to fire shots
to scare the reptiles off. The bodies will be returned to Zimbabwe.

      It is believed the five were hoping to evade the Beit Bridge border
post and enter South Africa illegally across the Limpopo River. - Sapa
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Don't let MacGill walk alone
AUSTRALIA'S cricketers are under increasing pressure to cancel their tour to
Zimbabwe next month with former captain Greg Chappell leading a group of
voices urging the world champions to reconsider.

A senior Zimbabwean player said it would be "absolutely brilliant" if the
Australians were prepared to abandon the four-week visit in protest at the
treatment of 13 rebel players in the troubled African nation.

Fast bowler Glenn McGrath said he would not be totally surprised if
team-mates reconsidered their positions as pressure mounted on Cricket
Australia to abandon the tour.

The calls came a day after Stuart MacGill stunned the cricket world by
refusing on moral grounds to tour Zimbabwe and it emerged yesterday that
South Australian batsman Darren Lehmann almost joined the boycott.

Lehmann heavily contemplated a withdrawal during lengthy meetings with team
management during Australia's tour of Sri Lanka.

"I did have a few doubts about whether to tour but I spoke to one or two
people and came to the conclusion that it would be useful for Australia to
travel," Lehmann said from England.

Cricket Australia was given an indication of public opinion yesterday when a
poll on www.baggygreen. - Australia's premier cricket website -
resulted in 70 per cent of almost 20,000 voters calling for the tour to be

By late yesterday, more than 80 per cent of voters in a separate poll
supported MacGill's decision.

Former Zimbabwean fast bowler Henry Olonga, who fled the country after a
dramatic protest at the "death of democracy" during last year's World Cup,
supported MacGill. "The racism in Zimbabwe is unique," Olonga said. "It's
not up to me to say whether Australia should go but as a sportsman for nine
years, I have learnt that life is bigger than sport."

Chappell said Australia's players should not be made to "carry the political
can" and should forfeit the tour on moral grounds if governments were not
prepared to apply sanctions at higher levels. But he said the bitter
standoff in Zimbabwe, where 13 players are refusing to play until the
Zimbabwe Cricket Union ends its alleged political agendas, deserved
consideration. The ZCU has given the players until May 8 to drop their
demands or face legal action for a breach of contract.

"They have made a stand and I'm surprised there hasn't been more of a move
within the playing community around the world to come out and support them,"
Chappell said.

"The obvious decision is not to tour but that's only a personal opinion. One
tour more or less isn't going to make a huge impact on Australian cricket.

"But it may in Zimbabwe. If I were captain I would be discussing it with my
team-mates to see how they feel."

A senior Zimbabwean player, who did not want to be identified, said the
rebel players would be thrilled at any support from Australia.

"It would definitely help our cause," he said.

MacGill said yesterday his stance was based on issues "wider than cricket"
and was not related to the selection stand-off. "It's certainly a larger
issue than Zimbabwe and cricket and I have been contemplating issues outside
cricket," MacGill said.

Cricket Australia risks potentially crippling fines of up to $3 million if
it cancels the tour for anything but safety reasons. The International
Cricket Council can also suspend the country.
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The Australian

Editorial: Time to cancel Zimbabwe tour

April 23, 2004
WE all know there is one person in Australia who bowls better leg spin than
Stuart MacGill. But whether there is anyone with a keener sense of right and
wrong, and the courage to act on it, is now less certain.

For years, Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council have
turned a blind eye to the murderous, racist policies of Zimbabwe's
dictatorial President Robert Mugabe, even when those policies have directly
affected Zimbabwean cricket. MacGill has said - quietly, firmly and without
any criticism of those whose consciences dictate otherwise - that he refuses
to be part of this charade any longer, and will not play in Zimbabwe next
month. Good on him.

Zimbabwe has become the most divisive issue in world cricket. At the World
Cup held in Africa last year, New Zealand and England were fined for
refusing to play in Zimbabwe. The decision by two Zimbabwean cricketers,
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, to wear black armbands in a World Cup match in
protest against Mugabe's despotism and cruelty was the bookend to MacGill's
actions now. For both of them, however, it has borne the heavy cost of exile
from their beloved homeland.

But now the divisions within Zimbabwean cricket are at flashpoint, with 15
national players on strike over racist selection policies and the sacking of
skipper Heath Streak. This means that if the Australian tour goes ahead, the
world's best cricket squad will be playing against second-stringers. The
fact Cricket Australia presses on in these circumstances is explained,
though not excused, by a threatened $2.74 million fine from the ICC. But how
to explain the ICC's position? As a result of policies no more racist or
brutal than Mugabe's, South Africa was banned from Commonwealth sport, and
the Olympics, for more than two decades. The economic and sporting sanctions
were a major factor in ending apartheid, and since they were lifted the
Springboks and Proteas have become powerful symbols of South African
national unity and resolve. Does that story have any purchase on the minds
of international cricket officials?

Mugabe has discriminated viciously against white Zimbab weans, cowed the
press, and driven his own people to starvation. He stands for everything the
Commonwealth of Nations is against, and as a result Zimbabwe has been
suspended from the Commonwealth. But for as long as Mugabe continues to
oppress and murder his people, while insisting sportspeople be chosen on the
colour of their skin, Zimbabwe should also be suspended from the
Commonwealth game.
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The Guardian

Australia revolt on tour to Zimbabwe

Paul Kelso and Peter English
Thursday April 22, 2004

Up to seven Australian players were last night considering whether to take
their places in the squad selected to tour Zimbabwe next month after the
leg-spinner Stuart MacGill announced he would not tour on moral grounds.
MacGill, who told Australia's selectors on Friday he would not be able to
"maintain a clear conscience" playing in a country under the regime of the
president Robert Mugabe, is the first Australia player openly to voice
concerns about the on-going problems in Zimbabwe.

Several other senior players are believed to be exercised about joining the
tour, however, amid signs that the Zimbabwe issue may be reverberating
beyond England.

A source with knowledge of the Australian player's deliberations said that
the vice-captain Adam Gilchrist was among those troubled by the tour, though
he has since confirmed he will travel.

"They have been thinking about this for a long time," said the source. "They
are concerned about what is going on in Zimbabwe. All players and
administrators around the world are concerned for the situation in

The England squad will be watching developments closely. Their coach Duncan
Fletcher said yesterday that the squad will be awaiting a decision from
Lord's before deciding what to do. The England and Wales Cricket Board is
determined to avoid a repeat of the ill-concealed player rebellion that
marred the World Cup campaign, and the squad are likely to be given a "free
vote" on whether or not to tour.

Meanwhile the government has accepted that the ECB is likely to go ahead
with the tour and will not criticise Lord's if it fulfils its commitment to
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.

A Foreign Office source said yesterday that, while the government would
rather the tour did not go ahead, it appreciated the ECB's dilemma and would
not criticise it in the event of the tour taking place.

This marks a significant softening of the government's line on the issue
compared with last year, when Tony Blair led calls for England's World Cup
fixture in Harare to be called off on moral grounds.

"They are between a rock and a hard place and we are likely to communicate
the fact that we appreciate their dilemma We are not going to criticise
them," said the source.

MacGill, currently in England playing for Nottinghamshire, said yesterday
his decision was based on his unease about the political situation in
Zimbabwe and concern for the players currently locked in a dispute with the

"I visited Zimbabwe a couple of years ago on tour, we had a great tour there
and have taken an interest in the situation since then and I've been reading
as much as I can get my hands on," MacGill said.

"This is a personal decision and as much as possible I'd like to leave it
that way. People will try to turn this into a political matter but I chose
to make a personal decision based on my understanding of the issues.

"It's a subject that's been heavily discussed by Australia players.
Australian cricket has been discussing this for some period of time and
we've all formed our own opinions."

The fast bowler Jason Gillespie said MacGill had the side's full support but
that they would follow the advice of Cricket Australia. "I don't see how
going to Zimbabwe will be seen as endorsing what's going on," he said.
"We're going as cricketers to play and promote the game on a worldwide
scale; if we can do that it'll do more good than harm."

The Australian prime minister John Howard endorsed MacGill's stance and
congratulated him on his "strength of character".

Last night the International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani warned
that the player dispute in Zimbabwe threatened the integrity of the game.
Following talks with ZCU's chairman Peter Chingoka, Mani said a severely
weakened Zimbabwe side such as that which will meet Sri Lanka in Bulawayo
today, could damage the game.

"International cricket is built upon the best teams from each country taking
 part," he said. "It is one of the ICC's responsibilities to ensure that
everything possible is done to protect the integrity of the sport and we
have had the opportunity to discuss this aspect of the current dispute with
the ZCU."
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The Herald

Monetary policy review hailed

Business Reporters
CAPTAINS of industry and analysts have hailed the monetary policy review
statement for the first quarter of the year made by the governor of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Dr Gideon Gono, yesterday.

It has been described as an all encompassing product formulated to suit
different players in the economy.

Industrialists were largely delighted by the addition of incentives for
exporting companies as well as the extension of the productive sector
facility to June 30 2005.

"Although the rate has been increased to 50 percent, it is still largely
reasonable considering the high level of non-concessionary borrowing and
with the new incentives for exporters - a blend rate of around $4 200 to the
greenback will be attractive," said a managing director with a local
manufacturing company.

However, most industrialists showed their discontent with retention of the
25 percent surrender requirement at $824 against the United States dollar,
which they argued was still some form of taxation for the exporting

However, the governor reiterated that there was need for the requirement to
remain in force to meet strategic Government payments.

Old Mutual group chief executive Mr Graham Hollick said the quarterly review
of the policy was forward looking and accommodating although he was totally
against the productive sector concessionary funds.

"The funds impose inflationary pressure on the market and I believe some of
those monies are finding their way into the money market and the facility
itself distorts economic fundamentals, because the moment you subsidise for
something, someone will always be forced, indirectly or directly, to cover
that gap," said Mr Hollick.

The vice president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Mr
David Govere, welcomed the governor's statement.

"We accept the review. ZNCC appreciates the product, which has a balance of
business interests, which sits in the middle of the road," he said.

Deputy chairman of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited Mr Nigel Chanakira
said the review was progressive.

"Its progressive and results-oriented and economic indicators are beginning
to show up clearly on the dashboard in response to the policy as the
macro-economic variables are in line with the governor's statement.

"Quite hard-hitting and consistent with the statement. Above everything, the
exporting and retention of currency is attractive," said the banker.

Barclays Bank chief executive Mrs Charity Jinya said Dr Gono had managed to
focus on issues of priority in the economic turnaround process and
challenged all stakeholders to play their part.

She stressed that good corporate governance, as alluded to in the monetary
policy review, was a critical element which banks and other players in the
economy needed to employ diligently.

These views were also expressed by economic commentator Dr Samuel Undenge
who said that Dr Gono's stance that the central bank would not go back on
measures to restore sanity in the banking sector would further instill
discipline into the financial services sector.

This was particularly so for insurance companies and banks who, besides
being involved in illegal operations, had cheated the Government and the
central bank of billions of dollars.

Surveillance investigations by the central bank had revealed gross
understatement of statutory reserves where in one instance the banking
sector's total underpayment of statutory reserves for one week amounted to
$643 billion.

The insurance industry also owed the Government huge amounts of money as
they had also failed to meet their statutory obligations.

Zimbabwe Development Bank managing director Mr Cornelius Maradza commended
the central bank's clean-up exercise and stressed that all sectors of the
economy needed to do a self-introspection and put their act together.

"Any offender should take a bold step to rectify the situation rather than
waiting to be caught," he said.

He added that the monetary policy review statement and Dr Gono's recent
pronouncements on the state of the banking sector, had brought confidence
back into the sector.

Farmers also breathed a sigh of relief and told The Herald Business that the
farmers welcomed the review.

"We welcome the review statement. We feel, for the first time, finances have
been put forward at the right time - at the start of the season. We are
encouraged," said Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Davidson

He, however, indicated that farmers should be afforded an export rate of up
to $5 200 against the US dollar to motivate them even further.

NMB Bank chief executive Mr David Hatendi said the review had the
intellectual requirements and was balanced.
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New Zimbabwe

Scotland advocates fund for Zim judges

By Lucy Adams
Last updated: 04/22/2004 13:07:20
SCOTLAND's advocates are raising money for judges and lawyers in Zimbabwe to
help them remain independent under the oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe.

The Faculty of Advocates, made up of 700 of Scotland's lawyers, is working
with other foreign bars to create a trust to provide practical and financial
support to barristers and judges in the African state, where lawyers who
disagree with the government have been arrested and intimidated.

The Edinburgh Declaration Trust, which will be run by nine bars from three
different continents, has already raised tens of thousands of pounds to help
fund subscriptions to legal journals, legal training and education and
representation for barristers and judges taken to court by the government.
The money may also help support any who are forced to resign.

The faculty has sent one donation and members will be asked to make further
contributions in the coming weeks.

The trust has already helped pay expenses for independent, foreign advocates
to represent High Court judge Benjamin Paradza - arrested on the orders of
pro-Mugabe chief justice Godfrey Chidyausiku for alleged corruption - and
judge Fergus Blackie.

Under Mr Mugabe, thousands of white farmers have been forced to flee the
country and lawyers and judges have been assaulted and tortured for failing
to agree with policies.

Anthony Gubbay, ex-chief justice and one of the most respected judges in the
Commonwealth, was forced to quit in July 2001 under threat of violence and
judge Michael Majuru, president of the administrative court in Harare, was
forced to flee the country last year.

Roy Martin, vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates and one of the trustees of
the new body, visited Harare last week, along with representatives from four
other bars, to look at the problems facing the judiciary.

Mr Martin said: "Given what I have seen, it is my impression that the system
of justice in Zimbabwe has been very severely compromised.

"The importance of an independent justice system to any democratic state
cannot be overstated. In several countries in recent years we have seen a
steady eroding of the impartiality of their court systems and a worrying
trend for intimidating those lawyers who attempt to retain their

The trust is named after a 2002 declaration signed in Edinburgh which
included a pledge to support the legal profession and judiciary in Zimbabwe.
Adams is a Home Affairs correspondent for the Scottish Herald
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The Commission's 2004 session is an insult to the memory

of Sergio Vieira de Mello

Worse even than farce, it's a shipwreck. Such is the distressing spectacle
of the 60th annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission meeting from 15
March - 23 April in Geneva. For many years now, human rights activists have
struggled to find words strong enough to describe the slow but constant
drift of the UN's main organ that is supposed to defend these rights. Just
when it seemed it could not sink any further than the Libyan chairmanship in
2003, the year 2004 brought the collapse to a new low. It can be seen in the
contempt for the numerous victims whose plight is ignored by indignation
that is increasingly selective. It is an insult to the memory of the former
high commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello. And an insult to Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, who last year warned: "it has to change".

More than ever captive to a group of countries for which respect of human
rights seems to be the least of their worries, the Commission has at its
leisure given itself over to its usual little games and its customary
political horsetrading as if nothing had happened. As if 22 people had not
died in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on August 19. As if
the High Commissioner had not paid with his life for a certain loyalty to
his principles. Admittedly, the work of the Commission began with a tribute
to Sergio Vieira de Mello and his team who died in the terror attack that
that was as widely supported as it was fitting. But with these formalities
out of the way, routine quickly took over again.

Even 7 April, the day set aside to commemorate the 1994 genocide in Rwanda,
did little to awaken people's consciences. It is true that UN showed itself
incapable at the time of holding back the worst and that the Hutu regime in
Kigali took care to get itself elected both to the Human Rights Commission
and to the Security Council in order to quietly prepare its evil designs.
However, in a report dated March 1996 the special rapporteur on
extra-judicial executions had described the situation in Rwanda as explosive
and proposed immediate steps to restore peace and arrest those instigating
massacres. The Commission noted these comments, but did not react. A month
later, the massacres were under way in Rwanda. Recognising a little late the
international community's "collective failure" in the Rwandan tragedy, Kofi
Annan chose this tenth anniversary to launch an "Action Plan to Prevent
Genocide", focusing attention on new threats looming in Ituri province in
the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Darfur region of Sudan.

As usual, the re-election of half the 26 members of the sub-commission went
through like a letter in the post. Among these re-elected, so-called
independent experts were two stars in the human rights firmament, Moroccan
Halima Warzazi, outgoing chairperson of this brilliant apparatus, and Cuban
Miguel Alfonso Martinez. Sub-commission veterans both distinguished
themselves in 1988 by bolstering the regime of Saddam Hussein the day after
the Halabja massacre. The images of the bodies of five thousand Kurdish,
women, children and old men lying on the ground in this ghostly area
drenched with nerve gas by Iraqi aviation and artillery was burned on the
world's memory. This did not however prevent Ms Warzazi, with the support of
Alfonso Martinez, proposing a "no action" motion on 1 September. This led to
the sub-commission cutting short any discussion on a resolution "expressing
serious concern at Iraq's use of banned chemical weapons".

In March 1989, using the same subterfuge, Saddam Hussein's Iraq, with a seat
on the commission, succeeded in stifling all debates on the subject. After
the carnage of the war with Iran, some two hundred thousands Shiites were
then massacred during the uprising of 1991. Before taking up his post in
Baghdad, Vieira de Mello said that Iraq had been a "double failure of the
UN": of the Security Council, which had not managed to prevent the
intervention and the Commission which showed itself incapable of debating a
scandalous situation for 25 years. The Commission certainly has a short

Not until 15 April was the general torpor disturbed even a little, at the
time allotted to resolutions on individual countries. Cuba had the honour of
opening. Infuriated by the narrow adoption - 22 votes to 21 and 10
abstentions - of a resolution deploring 75 arrests last year of dissidents
and journalists, a well-muscled official in the Havana mission set upon an
exiled compatriot, beating him brutally about the head. UN security
intervened and the victim was taken to hospital. His assailant was accorded
diplomatic immunity. An effective illustration of the atmosphere; the boat
is no longer drifting, it's on the rocks.

There was not a single resolution on Iran, to the disappointment of Nobel
Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, aghast to discover these little games.
Zimbabwe and Russia escaped any censure, thus demonstrating the
effectiveness of the coalition of interests between thug governments and
freedom-destroying dictatorships. If Chechnya likewise was written off, it
was also because, among its fellow religionists - 15 of the 53 Commission
members are affiliated to the Islamic Conference Organisation - not one
wanted to cross swords with Moscow. Only the Europeans, backed by the United
States and Australia, came to the defence of the Chechens.

As was to be expected, not one of the 53 member countries wished to adopt a
US resolution, very moderate as it was, criticising China, even more so
since the text named Tibet and Sinkiang. In a packed hall, where Chinese
officials and employees occupied seats with no role other than as
cheerleaders, the Chinese ambassador choked with indignation as he promptly
claimed his rights in demanding a 'no action' motion. This on the pretext
that his "request conformed to procedural rules and aimed to defend the
Commission's credibility and principles." No less. Pakistan, Zimbabwe,
Russia, Sudan, Congo, Mauritania, Indonesia and Cuba, all paragons of
democracy, rushed to the support of the Forbidden City representative.

Set against these crude manoeuvres, what real value can be put on the
mini-successes that appear to be just for show? Of course, the Commission
called - unanimously if you please! - for the release of Daw Aung San Suu
Kyi, along with all political prisoners in Burma. Admonishments were handed
out to North Korea and Belarus along with the naming of special rapporteurs
charged with carrying out investigations in these countries, while
Turkmenistan was slammed for the second successive year.

The Commission also demanded - by 30 votes to 20 and five abstentions - the
definitive abolition of the death penalty. Curiously the United States,
Saudi Arabia and the Islamic countries, China and Zimbabwe said 'no'. For
the first time, a rapporteur was named to the fight against terrorism.
Another first, the rapporteur on Education said he did not want his mandate
renewed, failing the means to put his recommendations into effect after his
mission in China. And three independent experts publicly called for a
retrial under international standards of a Tibetan monk condemned to death
at a summary trial. How these resolutions will be carried out in practice is
another matter.

At the close of the 60th annual session, the question becomes insistent: Is
the Commission able to promote and protect human rights as explicitly set
out in its mission statement? Driven by a recurring force of inertia, year
and year producing resolutions that nobody bothers about and the application
of which depends on countries that are at the same time judges and
participants, what ultimately is its role or its relevance? Results that are
more disappointing every year lead the most committed NGOs to ask these
questions. If it fails to get a grip and quickly, the Commission is at real
risk of foundering in futility.

Jean-Claude Buhrer for Reporters Without Borders

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ZIMBABWE: Disabled groups call for more assistance

BULAWAYO, 21 April (IRIN) - The Zimbabwe government has been urged to
release Zim $4 billion (about US $866,000) in funding pledged for grants and
projects aimed at benefiting the increasingly vulnerable disabled

Chrispen Manyuke, the executive director of the National Council for the
Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe, said it was "high time government followed up"
on the pledge it made four months ago.

"We are always inundated with calls from people concerning the distribution
of those funds - the sooner it is done the better," he said.

Disability groups have said the rapidly rising cost of living, coupled with
a lack of employment opportunities, had increased the vulnerability of
disabled persons.

Inflation had also eroded a recent increase in monthly disability grants
from Zim $1,500 (US $32 cents) to Zim $10,000 (US $2). Alexander Phiri,
secretary-general of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD),
said the monthly allowance was not keeping track with galloping inflation.

An average monthly food basket now costs at least Zim $500,000 (US $108),
inflation remains well over 600 percent and living costs are rising. Earlier
this month the government announced it would also increase monthly
allowances for the dependants of the disabled from Zim $700 (US $15 cents)
to Zim $5,000 (US $1.08).

SAFOD said most of the disabled people in rural areas could not afford to
collect their grants.

"That allowance is not even enough to meet transport costs. We are looking
at somebody who pays Zim $15,000 (US $3,24) to collect Zim $10,000 (US $2).
Besides, there is so much bureaucracy and the money usually takes days to
process. We have had cases where people sleep outside the welfare offices
for days, awaiting payments. It would be better for government to come up
with outreach programmes, whereby the disabled can be paid out from local
community posts like schools and rural health centres," said Phiri.

In Zimbabwe's harsh economic climate Zim $10,000 is just enough to buy a
single 10 kg bag of the staple food, maize meal. The cheapest bottle of
cooking oil costs Zim $5,000, with other basic necessities costing much

SAFOD recently released a report detailing the desperate living conditions
of the disabled, who make up 22 percent of Zimbabwe's population of 13
million, and pointed out a lack of government support.

National Disability Board (NDB) chairman Joshua Malinga said the release of
the funds would ensure that the disabled did away with a culture of
dependency, as most of the funding was directed at setting up
income-generating projects. The NDB is responsible for managing the
disbursement of all grants and material support to the disabled in Zimbabwe.

"We don't want a culture of dependency among the disabled. They must fend
for themselves, and that is done through supporting their income-generating
projects. So the urgent release of that grant should make a difference, but
it should be done now," said Malinga.

Once it was available, the money would be allocated to disabled people's
organisations, institutions and service providers.

The delay in releasing the funds has been attributed to bottlenecks in the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. Malinga said the NDB
had already planned for public advocacy and awareness programmes to change
community perceptions of the disabled.

"We have planned for advocacy and awareness programmes, so that people can
change the way they perceive the disabled - people with disabilities must
not be seen as sick."

In addition to the Disability Fund, the government last year set up a
Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Budget.

Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
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